Saturday, May 13, 2006
Our Lady of Fatima and Reparation for Sin  

Today is the optional memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. It celebrates the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three Portuguese shepherd children--Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco-- from May 13 until October 13, 1917. The overall message of our Lady to the children was one of a call to repentance, dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and increased prayer especially the Rosary.

The children actually received apparitions prior to the visits from our Lady. In 1916, the children were visited three times by the Guardian Angel of Portugal. Under obedience to her Bishop, Lucia recorded information about all of the apparitions. She recounts the first apparition of the angel, which occurred while they were shepherding their families few sheep:
We ate our lunch and began to say the Rosary. After that we began to play a game with pebbles. We had only been at it a few moments when a strong wind began to shake the trees and we looked up to see what was happening, since it was such a calm day. And then we began to see, in the distance, above the trees that stretched to the east, a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent, and as brilliant as crystal in the rays of the sun. As he came near we were able to see his features. We were astonished and absorbed and we said nothing to one another. And then he said:

Do not be afraid. I am the angel of peace. Pray with me.

He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say:

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.

After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us:

Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.

And he disappeared. He left us in an atmosphere of the supernatural that was so intense we were for a long time unaware of our own existence. The presence of God was so powerful and intimate that even among ourselves we could not speak. On the next day, too, this same atmosphere held us bound, and it lessened and disappeared only gradually. None of us thought of talking about this apparition or any pledge of secrecy. We were locked in silence without having willed it.

His words sank so deeply into our minds that we never forgot them, and ever after we used to spend long periods on our knees repeating them, sometimes until we fell down exhausted.
It is interesting the strong call that God had upon the lives of these three children. The second apparition, again expressed in the words of Lucia, reveals the seriousness of what was being asked of the children.
Suddenly we saw the same angel near us.

What are you doing? You must pray! Pray! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs for you. You must offer your prayers and sacrifices to God, the Most High.

"But how are we to sacrifice?" I asked.

In every way you can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for sinners. In this way you will bring peace to our country, for I am its guardian angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, bear and accept with patience the sufferings God will send you.

The Angels' words sank deeply into our souls like a gleaming torch, showing us Who God is, what is His love for us, and how he wants us to love Him too; the value of sacrifice and how it pleases Him; how He receives it for the conversion of sinners. That is why from that moment we began to offer Him whatever mortified us.
The third visit by the angel to the children in the fall of 1916, was a final preparation for the visits by our Lady. Lucia records;
We lifted our heads to see what was happening. The Angel was holding in his left hand a chalice and over it, in the air, was a host from which drops of blood fell into the chalice. The Angel leaves the chalice in the air, kneels near us and tells us to repeat three times:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

After that he rose, took again in his hand the chalice and the host. The host he gave to me and the contents of the chalice he gave to Jacinta and Francisco, saying at the same time,

Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ terribly outraged by the ingratitude of men. Offer reparation for their sakes and console God.

Once more he bowed to the ground repeating with us the same prayer thrice: Oh, Blessed Trinity etc. and disappeared. Overwhelmed by the supernatural atmosphere that involved us, we imitated the Angel in everything, kneeling prostrate as he did and repeating the prayers he said.
The message of reparation for sins is again strongly emphasized. It might seem difficult to understand God's choice of these three children, the oldest being only ten years of age, to make reparation for the sins of others, but it seems to only underscore the need for all of us to make reparation for our own sins and offer up sacrifices for the sins of others. Perhaps we cannot do the "great things" that others can, but we can offer up our "small offerings" of our daily life in love to God. It is perhaps a facet of the spiritual life to which I am not familiar.

I certainly did not grow up learning anything about patiently bearing suffering or offering my suffering to God as an act of love. And I was not taught a theology of making reparation for sins. However, the idea of taking up one's cross as Jesus called us to do clearly means bearing our burdens in love and offering them as sacrifices to God. Unlike Jesus, these should be made for our own sins out of love for the forgiveness that He gives us. And like Jesus, these sacrifices should also be made for others.

The crosses are already there in my life as they are in the lives of everyone. The question which God seems to ask is what will I do with them. I used to think that a stoic approach would be best. Now, I realize, although I fail miserably in practice, that these crosses are opportunities to grow in love. It is not simply a matter of gritting my teeth and making it through a bad situation, or even worse my ignoring the problem in order that it will go away. Instead, it is a matter of accepting what God has allowed, praying for grace, wisdom, and strength, and then offering the entire situation to God. I know if I do that He will use it to transform me and perhaps make a difference in someone else's life, as well.

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Posted by David at 9:30 AM  |  Comments (3)  | Link


Why pray… does it help?

By Blogger caliibre, at May 15, 2006 1:36 AM  

Rather than respond in a comment, I would like to add some posts about prayer. The first one is here.

By Anonymous David, at May 17, 2006 12:17 AM  

In my view, the fact that the events at Fatima in 1917 are still mainstream news strongly suggests the 'prophecy' is not yet fulfilled. The recent news article was published in a mainstream Chinese newspaper(in Chinese). It occured to me that Our Lady wants to place Her visit to Fatima in the consciousness of a wider audience of mankind today!

Tonight I felt compelled to review some notes that I wrote about the 3rd secret in 2002 ... I have copied them below.

Also, I feel it is worthwhile to reflect on the events in the immediate vicinity (time line) of October 13, 1917. The three events that I find intriguing are ... the Bolshevik Revolution ... leading to Communism and the exasperation of the East West conflict.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire and subsequent malaise in the Middle East.

The Balfour Declaration leading to the current state of Israel.

My notes written while walking the Camino Santiago in Spain.

"Seems I agree with the Portuguese people that the vision(Lucia's) in 1917 ... described in her letter was intended to tell us more than the attempted suicide on the pope many years ago. Although there is no question in my mind that the attempted suicide was part of it and is also consistent with what I am about to write.

May the Holy Spirit control my thoughts and this pen as I write ...

I do not remember all the details of the letter. I will write about the details I do remember.

The mountain or hill ... this seems consistent with all milestone scriptural writings ... Mount Zion ... Mount Sinai ... Mount Tabor ... the beatitiudes ... always a mountain.

The use of a mountain in these writings and events must be trying to tell us something. I will look up the definition of the word later but while walking this is what came to me ...

A mountain is up ... above the normal level of ground ... like grace is above nature ... metaphysical is above physical ... supernatural is above nature. All the same notion ... much of scripture infers going up to heaven ... up to God ... up the mountain ... paradise is up in the sky ... the heavens are up ...

The man in the white robe represents all of God's messengers ... prophets ... popes ... priests ... Levi's ... Budda ... Mohammed etc. All of the people sent by God to help us people make our way up this 'mountain'.

Climbing a mountain infers hard work ... the way to God is hard work ...

Seems to me all people in all times had somewhere inside themselves ... sometimes buried very deep and imperceptible ... nonetheless still there ... a longing to go home ... without knowing where this 'home' is ... we do not know what is on 'top of the mountain' but we want to get there.

The dead people ... the arrows ... the bullets. This suggests to me that the vision represents a long long period ... arrows are a primitive weapon from ages and ages ago ... bullets are 20th century. Thus the possibility that this vision is intended to convey the entire history of mankind.

The dead ... religious and secular people ... We know today that man has been killing man in the name of religion ... greed ... self defense etc etc. There has always been horrific and seemingly unexplainable wars and crimes against humanity ... empires have risen and fallen leaving countless dead bodies ... innocent victims.

The man in white ... the pope ... of course our pope John Paul II is a man of God and like so many men of God(prophets etc) people want to kill him ... the attempted suicide fits this explanation ... they nailed Him to a cross.

I can't remember but it seems to me the vision suggests man is near the 'crest' of the mountain ... the human race is about to meet GOD ... FACE to FACE ...

This can not be so bad ... we have been waiting for this day for so many thousands and thousands of years!

Seems to me though that if those of us living at this time are about to meet our GOD face to face we should try to be ready ... try to prepare ourselves ... pray! ... pray! ... pray!

St John the Baptist and Elijah have been on my camino several times ... maybe it is time to prepare the way for the coming of our Saviour ... the return of Jesus Christ! ...

For myself ... I will keep walking and see what happens tomorrow."

July 29, 2002

By Blogger Pilgrim Tom, at May 19, 2007 10:53 AM  

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